Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill

First Look: Smith Commons

Photo Credit: Greg Powers

I have to believe that one of the worst locations to open a restaurant right now is on the south side of H St. NE. If it wasn’t hard enough to establish yourself, try doing it from behind chain link fencing and the giant crater that will hopefully be a street car track one day. I have a hard enough time figuring out where to cross the street that most of the time I just give up and end up at Sticky Rice. I was determined the other night though, so I made it through the war zone that is the construction barricades and finally found myself at Smith Commons, the newest restaurant/lounge to open on H St.

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Food and Drink, Night Life, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Biergarten Haus

Photo courtesy of
‘people watching soccer’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

Biergarten Haus is on the defensive.  They’re still sore from the reaming Tom Sietsema gave them in the Post (having your food described as “a lethal weapon” always hurts), and there’s a certain measure of bitterness amongst the staff against the Yelpers for their similarly worded reviews criticizing, amongst other things, the service. To me, Biergarten Haus isn’t about the food or the waiters, it’s about the beer. And how is the beer?  Well, it’s better than the food or the waiters. It’s not the best, but it’s good enough.

Biergarten Haus is the latest and greatest nightlife phenomena in DC.  It seems like one comes along every year or so, and Washingtonians pack the place out and make it impossible to find a seat on the weekends.  Last year it was Churchkey, this year it’s Biergarten. It’s a blessing and a curse.  The broader neighborhood benefits from the patronage that is turned away at the door for lack of space.  The patrons themselves face the frustration of massive crowds, slow service and lack of seating.

The beer garden was hyped and highly anticipated before it even opened its doors.  After a series of delays and extended soft openings, the DC citizenry was practically clamoring to get inside to experience the Biergarten for themselves.  When the establishment finally did open in June, it was rough, to say the least. If you came after 6, there were no seats.  If you happened to get a table, you where crammed in with literally hundreds of other people.  The staff was too small, the service was too slow and people generally left disenchanted. Continue reading

The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Very Small


Boys start bands in high school. It’s one of the great American clichés. But — every once in awhile — the guys that truly love  music end up making a name for themselves, and it’s all because of their dedication to the game.

DC’s most dedicated award in rock music goes to — The Very Small.

Never heard of ‘em? That’s okay. They’re not big yet. They’re not signed to a label. They practice in a make shift rehearsal space in their basement, all while cracking jokes and keeping it real. And — they’re kicking-off their first tour this Thursday at The Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street.

Remember those guys who decided to make a rock band and played every single “battle of the bands” possible back when the captain of the football team ruled the school while dating the head cheerleader? These are those guys.

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